Lunar New Year is the most important holiday of the year for many Asian communities around the world. Across these varied cultures, many traditions exist for ringing in a new year of good luck and prosperity. In communities across the United States, people shop for food and other supplies, hang decorations and ceremoniously clean their homes and streets to welcome the year with a fresh start.
The rat is the first of the 12 zodiac animal signs associated with the Chinese lunar calendar. Those born during the Year of the Rat may be seen as very clever, self-aware and highly social. The Year of the Rat begins Jan. 25, 2020, and ends Feb. 11, 2021.
With blue as the predominant color — said to be one of the lucky colors for individuals born during the Year of the Rat — the rat mask in the stamp design incorporates elements with symbolic meaning. Several of the patterns were created with the style of Asian textiles and the circle in the center of the rat’s head represents the new moon on which the Lunar New Year begins. A pop of the very lucky color red ties the design in with other common celebratory decorations.
Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamp with original artwork by Camille Chew.
The Year of the Rat stamp is the first stamp in the third series of celebrating Lunar New Year. The first series ran from 1992 to 2005 and the second series from 2008 to 2019. The Year of the Rat stamp is being sold in panes of 20. This Forever stamp will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.
Information on ordering first-day-of-issue postmarks and covers is at usps.com/shopstamps under “Collectors.” The Postal Service’s two previous Lunar New Year stamp series ran from 1992-2004 and 2008-2019.
Did you know? People born under this sign tend to indulge in coins, antiques, and other collectibles. (Why not make 2020 the year you take up philately?)